Shall we play a game? The ‘Be A Broadway Star’ Board Game, that is!

I’ve always loved board games.

I’ve always loved Broadway.

So . . . using the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup theory (putting two things together that are fantastic on their own with the hopes of creating something even more fantastic), I created a Broadway Board Game called . . . wait for it . . . Be A Broadway Star!

Yep, forget X-Box and iPhone apps, we took it old school.

Inspired by the classic games of everybody’s youth–Life, Monopoly, Encore, Charades, and more–I’m proud to announce that today we are officially releasing a brand new board game where you play the role of a Broadway Star-to-Be!

Fun, right?  Well, wait until you play!

Just like the life of a real wannabe Broadway actor, you’ll roll the dice and go through acting school, buy pictures and resumes, try and get an agent, and of course, audition, audition, and audition some more!

You’ll even get “make or break” moments that challenge your best Broadway skills!

The player that gets to the Broadway Hall of Fame first, and has the most fans, wins!

It’s interactive, it’s Broadway and from what our focus group players said, it’s a heck of a lot of fun!!!

And it goes without saying that we think it’s a must for anyone on your holiday list this year that has ever even uttered the word Broadway.

Buy it online at

The game will be in stores soon, but as with everything I do, I wanted my blog readers to be the first to get it . . . especially since there are only a limited number of games available.  As you can imagine, developing and building a game is quite a process, so we ordered a very small quantity for this first batch. Because the holiday season is approaching, we do expect to sell out fast.  So snatch ’em up.

(Oh, and after you get it, we’ll be having a contest to see who can come up with the best “drinking game” version . . . so start thinking).

Special thanks to Travis Ferguson, Melissa Heller, Blair Ingenthron, Rick Menard, and my entire DTE team for putting in the extra effort to make this happen.  You should have seen their faces the day I came into the office and said, “I wanna make a Broadway Board Game!”  Thanks for helping to make another Davenport dream come true, guys and dolls.

Click here for more info, including how to play . . . Be A Broadway Star!

Q: What do Off-Broadway and Independent Film have in common?

A: Almost everything.

Here are some common (but admittedly general) characteristics that could be used to describe both Off-Broadway and Independent Film:

  • Lower budgets
  • Original works
  • Emerging artists
  • Risk-taking
  • Artistic
  • Celebrities
  • Etc.

So if they are so similar, then why oh why does Independent Film have such a better rep than Off-Broadway (besides the obvious “off”-in-the-title issue)?  I guarantee if we had done a one-word survey on Independent Film, it would have a lot more positive associations than the Off-Broadway associations we talked about yesterday.

Two things changed the face of Independent Film in the last two decades:

  1. The democratization of production thanks to new technology (digital cameras and digital editing allowed anyone to make a movie inexpensively).
  2. Indie Films compete side by side against their mainstream counterparts for awards – and often beat them.

How can we use these examples to better Off-Broadway?

  1. If I were an Off-Broadway Producer or member of the Off-Broadway Alliance (oh, wait, I am), I’d be looking at how we can use technology and our new DIY world to reduce our costs, while maintaining high-quality productions.  Off-Broadway shows can’t be produced like mini-Broadway shows.  They have entirely different economic models and therefore have to be built differently . . . and today they can be.
  2. I’d also be lobbying the Tony Awards for some sort of Off-Broadway recognition.  While we’ll never go head-to-head (nor should we, Drama Desks), partially because unlike film, we “graduate” many shows to Broadway and therefore Tony eligibility, Off-Broadway deserves a piece of that big night.  Why not a citation for a production or an artist or a theater company?  There’s a Tony for regional theaters, why not one for Off-Broadway, which I’d bet has been responsible for more eventual Tony Award winners than regionals.

Somehow, somewhere, Off-Broadway got a bad rep (and yes, it has to do with the name).  What should we do?

Over the next ten years, Off-Broadway’s goal should be to change its brand to exactly that of Independent Film.

Otherwise, as films get even easier to produce and distribute and therefore appear in theaters, on computers and on iPhones with even greater frequency, people may just decide to go see a movie instead of a show.

Got 2.5 hours to see a reading? No. Got 20 minutes? Who doesn’t?

I’ve written about the difficulties of “selling” a piece in a typical reading scenario before (and that entry is actually one of the most read blogs – see the new list on the left hand side of the blog).  They’re in the middle of the day.  They are under fluorescent lights.  The audience’s iPhones are vibrating a hole through their pockets, etc.

And of course, one of the greatest challenges is that a typical musical reading is easily a three hour commitment for anyone attending.  That’s a good chunk of an audience’s very busy business day.

So what do you do instead?  I’m glad you asked!

I’m advocating the 20 minute lunchtime reading.  Give me a couple tunes, a couple of scenes and maybe a sandwich, and I’ll swing down, decide if the show suits my taste, and be back in time to make sure the paperwork on my desk hasn’t hit the ceiling.

You follow up, and if I liked it (and the odds are better that I will if I’m only seeing 20 minutes), you send a script and a demo, which I can go through on my own time.

Then you present a more complete reading a month later for the really interested parties and for the creatives, so they can get feedback on the flow, the development of the characters, etc.  (I did this for Altar Boyz, and based the concept on the NAMT model, and I got a great producing partner out of the deal.)

To put it a little more clearly . . .

When I walk by Auntie Anne’s Pretzels on 8th Avenue, they’ve always got this nice employee out front offering free samples of a pretzel bite.  I may not have time to go in the store and pick up a full size, but I can certainly do a grab and go . . . even if I’m on my way to lunch!

And in that one bite, Auntie Anne succeeds in whetting my appetite.  And when I do have time, I’ll go far out of my way for an original with salt and a side of cheese.